I'm going to be brutally honest here. I've been a career coach since 2001. Prior to that, I was an HR and staffing industry professional. I decided to leave corporate America so I could help all the people I saw suffering in their careers. I wanted to build a company that would give people a fighting chance against the disruption on the horizon. You see, the staffing industry knew back then what was coming. I remember sitting in an executive team meeting in 1998 and being shown the extensive data that proved half the workforce would be freelancers within 30 years. Fast forward to today and we are fast approaching that reality. Only now is the working population coming to understand how artificial intelligence, the rate of business change, globalization, and technological advances is creating extensive job insecurity and instability. Right now, we are in a heightened state of emotional career chaos. Here's why...
Job search has actually gotten harder.
School teaches us everything except how to get the job. Why? Because there's no standard blueprint for building a meaningful career. Meanwhile, with the desire to follow some sort of career gameplan, many people are now racked with college debt and no clear plan of how to get out of it. Add to this the fact that today, every job is temporary. Therefore, you need to know how to look for work repeatedly in your lifetime. Gone are the days where we are employed for 25 years by the same company and get to collect a pension and gold watch at the end. Nowadays, we are all businesses-of-one who must navigate the ever-changing economy to stay employable. And then there's the job search process itself! We are falsely led to believe technology has made it easier to get a job. Not true! It's made it easier for you to apply to a job. Which means, millions more people are applying. This has created stiffer online competition for jobs. You might think you are the perfect fit for a job, but so did thousands of other applicants. That's why studies show today, less than 3 percent of people who apply for a job get a call. Talk about stressful. The lack of response delivers a serious blow to most job seekers' career confidence. Which is when a very misguided and unnecessary emotion creeps in.
Shame is a job search killer.
Looking for work takes a toll on your psyche. You question your worth. You struggle with the right way to present yourself. Most people generally feel like a fish out of water. Which is why, when the lack of response to job search activities feels like repeated rejection, a feeling of shame takes over. This is the most common feeling our members secretly express when they join Work It Daily. They say things like,
"I'm embarrassed that it's taking me this long to find a job."
"I can't figure out what's wrong with me."
"I hate talking about my job search because I feel like such a failure."
"I feel so stupid for being in this position. How did I let my career get so off track?"
The problem with these feelings of shame is they literally dull your brain.
Studies show exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity each day impairs the neurons in your hippocampus - the part of the brain that makes decisions. In short, the negative self-talk you keep repeating in your head is making you dumber. Harsh, but true. And that means your job search is being held back by your weakened mental state. When looking for work (a/k/a marketing your business-of-one's services), you need to appear genuinely excited, energized, and positive. Your attitude comes across in your actions. Nobody, especially employers, want to buy damaged, or lower quality services. The people you are communicating with about your job search can tell when you aren't fully confident. It shows up in your facial expressions, voice tone, and body language. Which means, the vibe you give off to the world with respect to your job search impacts how much people will help you and respond to you. You've got to believe in yourself to get others to do so.
So, how do you fix it?
You start by breaking your current job search routine. Face up to the fact that something is wrong with your strategy. You need new experiences. You need to create new habits. You need to access new resources. You need to surround yourself with new people. New, new, new. Change up what you are doing and who you are doing it with. For example, if your approach to job search has been sitting by yourself at home and blindly apply to jobs online, and then checking your email very five minutes for a response, it's no wonder you are feeling bad. This approach is isolating, ineffective, and unhealthy. In the last decade working with thousands of professionals at Work It Daily, we've found a combination of courses (new things to learn), coaching (one-on-one feedback and advice from proven experts), and community (chatting with like-minded professionals who understand your situation), is the best way to shake things up. You can't improve your situation in a vacuum. To overcome the shame and to get back to a happier mindset requires the three-pronged approach I've outlined. It's the only way to fight against the negative self-talk. Your mind is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil. Don't let evil win. Instead, create a new plan of action to make sure you're at the top of your game mentally so you can execute a job search that gets you results!